3 Lessons from 3 Years of Pause // Play // Escapes

Photo Oct 13, 12 43 32 PM.jpg


Our first Pause // Play // Escape was in April 2015 with three attendees. As we enter our third year of retreats we thought we would share 3 things we have learned... As 3 is our magic number!

1) Slow is the way to go...


When we rush around, when make a list that is so long we have to go fast to finish, when we try and fit too many things in... it never works out. One year we pushed ourselves to do more retreats than we really honestly had time for. It didn't work out well, we felt stressed, the 'extra' retreat didn't run anyway and we realised we were not practicing what we preached! So we paused, took a step back and went with the slow road to success.

2) Planning is guessing...


We made a long list of venues to visit in Gozo, we got up early, met at the ferry and ploughed our way through the plan... The venues we loved the most were the ones we stumbled across when we took a wrong turn. The people we resonated with the most were the ones that weren't on our schedule of interviews. Planning is important, it sets the intention and keeps the momentum going. But it is only ever a guess at how things will pan out. You have to let go on the plan sometimes...

3) It's the people that shape the experience


We have a schedule (which is flexible), we make sure we work hard to create the right space for our retreats. We listen to what each group needs, we share our thoughts on how to switch up what we are doing if it's not working. That means that every retreat is different depending on who comes and what energy they bring. No 2 Pause // Play // Escapes are the same. Which we love and it's what keeps us going into our third year and beyond...
 

We can't wait for our 4th year of Escapes, the next one will be Friday 27th -Monday 30th April 2018 in Gozo and we're offering a 10% discount on all bookings made before 24th December 2017!

Is it time for you to reward body, mind & soul with a Pause // Play // Escape? Find out more details here... :) 

 

 * yes, a glass or so of wine is allowed on our retreats :) this is your holiday too!

* yes, a glass or so of wine is allowed on our retreats :) this is your holiday too!

Brilliant Egg Bake (a.k.a Feedback Bake)

We love a bit of feedback here at Pause // Play // Escapes HQ.

Why? It makes us improve things. It helps us stop doing things that don't work awesomely and start doing things that do.

Hurrah.

This egg bake recipe is a direct result of the following feedback:

 

Q: What did you think of the food and drink on Pause // Play // Escapes?
— Cat and Lisa's Feedback Form
A: Would have loved some eggs for breakfast one day...
— Pause // Play // Escapee - May 16

Perfect brunch recipe coming right up...

Ingredients

  • 1 x sweet potato
  • 1 x zucchini
  • 1/2 x red pepper
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • Chopped parsley
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 8 x organic, free range eggs from happy happy chickens please.
  • Some oil (we used olive)

Method

Get yourself a large oven dish/roasting tin, any shape.
Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 or 5

Peel n chop the sweet potato into 1 inch cubes and toss in oil and salt and pepper.

Put in the oven dish/roasting tin and pop in the oven for 15 minutes.

Meantime, chop the zucchini and red pepper into chunky chunks.

After the sweet potato has been in for 15 minutes, open the oven and throw in the red pepper and zucchini. Toss it all around and pop it back in the oven for a further 15 minutes.

Meantime, whisk up the 8 eggs with the chopped parsley and once the second 15 minutes is up, pour the eggs and parsley over the roasted veggies. And mix in the spinach leaves.

Pop all of that lot back in the oven for 15 minutes or until the egg is cooked (whichever happens first)

Once the egg is cooked, remove from the oven and eat hot or cold.

Serves 6 - 8 happy yogis

PS - you can totally switch up the veggies for mushrooms, tomatoes, leeks, red onions, beets and so on...

Watch this space for more things inspired by feedback :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dress to Impress

“Loved the Brunch on the first day, Perfect!”
— Pause // Play // Escapee... October 2016

One of our favourite bits of preparing for Pause// Play // Escapes is menu planning. We look at what's in season, we share what we have made our own friends n family and we think back on previous escapes to come up with a unique menu for each Escape...

There's always plentiful salads for the welcome meal (crunchy, seasonal and healthy) but no salad is complete without it's dressing and we think we triumphed on the last escape, mustering up four unique dressings.  It was pretty hard to choose, but here was our favourite...

Tahini Bikini* Dressing

Get yourself a clean jar big enough for the serving you want to make... Scoop in the following:

  • Grated ginger - 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger.
  • Lime (or lemon) - juice of one (or half if you are using lemon).
  • Tamari (you can use soy sauce but tamari has no gluten so we prefer it) - sploshy sploshy! i.e. there is no exact measure for this, just add to taste (if you like super salty add more).
  • Tahini - 2.5 tablespoons (we used dark but you can use light instead if you prefer).
  • Water - again sploshy sploshy! Add the water at the end once the taste is good for you as the water is mostly to get the right texture.

Shake it shake it shake (lid on obvs) with all your might.

Pour atop salad of choice.

We used this one for a coriander, pumpkin seed, quinoa salad but it would work for anything with asian flavours or over some hearty falafel. 

Enjoy...

*We know it's got nothing to do with bikinis but it rhymed!

...all our juicy dressings lined up in a row, lemons, limes, spices, herbs, salt, pepper, tahini, tamari and loooovvvveeee x

 

 

 

 

 

Evolve, Don't Resolve

So 2017 draws to a close and our attention turns to the year ahead. In our forward looking fast paced universe we are eyeing up the next 12 months and wondering what will come. We are looking at January and seeing the word “New Year Resolution’ plastered all over the magazines, along with New This, New That, New You, New for 2018…

Those of you who have attended one of our escapes or followed our blog will know that we like to slow things down a bit. Draw our attention to now. To here. To how we feel. To what’s inside. To this moment.

But we also love intention setting. And we know that goal setting is an important part of life and a proven way to get what we want soooooo…

Here is the compromise…

Get yourself a pen n paper and carve out a little you time to embark on…The Three Step Resolution Evolution.

1. Think Old  

Look back to look forward. To shift ourselves from a place of lack, lets look at what we have.  Write down what you have achieved in 2017. What steps did you take to get where you are? What 10 awesome things do you have in your life already?

Stop, breathe, read the list. How does that make you feel...?

2. Slow down

Don't rush to set your 2018 intentions...

January in the Northern Hemisphere is a time of cold weather, short days and less light. It’s a time for hibernation, rest and recuperation. Nature is not starting new things. She is preserving her precious energy and enjoying the lack of action. 

It’s often, though, a time when we are seeking some balance, to counter the indulgent behaviours of the last month of the year and that’s no bad thing. However, there is innate wisdom in giving the pendulum time to swing gently back to the neutral before a health kick begins and January is perfect for this. Perfect for identifying which unhealthy behaviours that no longer serve you, make you happy, or make you strong. January is perfect for being gentle and patient with yourself, it’s energy is quiet and slow so use this as a time for reflection. 

And write down the things you would like to shift over the coming year...

3. Think evolution, not revolution….

New activities take a long time and a lot of energy to embed. So why not continue something you are already working on rather than a whole new thing or trying to reignite a long extinguished fire… It probably went out for a reason..

You can use the Look back to look forward list from step 1 to inspire you…

We’d love to hear what you come up with :)

What were your favourite moments of 2017 and what are you wanting more or less of on 2018. But don’t rush. We have all the time in the world ;)

Love and hugs

Cat and Lisa x

 

The Seven Main Chakras – what they are and why you should pay attention to them!

So firstly what are chakras? Chakras were first mentioned thousands of years ago in the Vedas, an ancient Yogic text, where they were described as quite literally wheels of energy in the body. It’s good to remember that a lot of ancient traditions did come from primitive understandings of biology and so even though they might seem basic and far-fetched to us nowadays they can still hold a lot of significance in their teachings if we look at them as a different, simpler way to explain the body.

I like to think of chakras as energy hubs within the body that regulate the flow of vital energy (prana) to different parts of our bodies. Like all energy, just because we cannot see it does not mean it is not there and does not affect us. Albert Einstein was famously quoted saying

“Everything is energy and that is all there is to it”

and the fact that everything is energy is also the basis of modern quantum physics.

For me personally, the chakras are not some far-fetched hippy talk, nor are they scientifically proven fact, they are simply a different way to explain, connect with and understand our bodies.

There are seven main chakras in the body and these hubs are focused areas of high energy within the body.  These hubs are located along the spine and they direct and regulate the flow of energy into our ‘nadis’ the channels through which energy flows in our body. There are supposedly 72,000 nadis in the body according to the ancient texts, in our modern understanding of the body this system has been likened to the nervous system. Therefore the chakras can have a very tangible effect on our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies, especially when a chakra is blocked or out of balance and therefore nadi is not receiving the energy it needs. 

So without further ado here is a breakdown of each chakra and what it might affect if out of balance.

The Muladhara /Root Chakra

The first chakra is emotionally associated with our basic survival needs and safety, the ability to provide for life’s necessities and to feel at home. When it is balanced we feel grounded & stable, but when it is out of balance it can lead to feelings of insecurity and fear.

PHYSICAL DYSFUNCTIONS associated with this chakra being out of balance*[1]: chronic lower back pain, sciatica, varicose veins, rectal issues, depression, immune-related disorders..

LOCATION: base of the spine

COLOUR: Red

MANTRA: I am

YOGA poses which help activate this chakra: standing balances.

The Svadhishthana/Sacral Chakra

The second chakra is associated with our emotional and sexual needs and desires as well as our creativity. When in balance it allows us to feel & enjoy things and let things flow. When it is blocked we may feel stuck and unable to enjoy experiences.

PHYSICAL DYSFUNCTIONS associated with this chakra being out of balance: chronic lower back pain, sciatica, ob/gyn problems, pelvic/lower back pain, sexual potency & urinary problems.

LOCATION: lower abdomen below the navel.

COLOUR: Orange

MANTRA: I feel

YOGA poses which help activate this chakra: hip openers, twists, backbends

The Manipura/ Solar plexus Chakra

This chakra controls the fire in our lives, it is associated with power and self-esteem. If it is balanced one would feel confident and like they can succeed at anything they try, a real go-getter, if out of balance it can lead to lack of self confidence and not being open to trying new things.

PHYSICAL DYSFUNCTIONS associated with this chakra being out of balance: Arthritis, gastric ulcers, colon/intestine issues, pancreatitis/diabetes, indigestion, anorexia and bulimia, liver dysfunction, adrenal dysfunction.

LOCATION: solar plexus

COLOR: Orange

MANTRA: I do

YOGA poses which help activate this chakra: core work

The Anahata/ Heart Chakra

This chakra is associated with our ability to love ourselves, and others and to feel compassion. A balanced heart chakra will allow someone to love and appreciate themselves as they are and to love and feel compassion for others and the world. A blocked heart chakra may mean a person has absolutely no compassion for others, an inability to love others and has no care for the world around them.

PHYSICAL DYSFUNCTIONS associated with this chakra being out of balance: Heart problems, asthma/allergy, lung issues, upper back and shoulder pain, breast cancer.

LOCATION: Heart

COLOUR: Green

MANTRA: I love

YOGA poses which help activate this chakra: Backbends

The Vishudda/ Throat Chakra

This chakra is related to our ability to communicate and express our feelings as well as to our creativity. A balance chakra allows easy expression and speaking the truth. Any imbalances in this chakra may mean communication problem and even not being true to oneself.

PHYSICAL DYSFUNCTIONS associated with this chakra being out of balance: raspy throat and chronic sore throat, mouth ulcers, gum problems, temporomandibular (jaw) joint problems, scoliosis, swollen glands, thyroid problems.

LOCATION: throat

COLOUR: blue

MANTRA: I speak

YOGA poses which help activate this chakra: shoulderstand series

The Ajna / Third Eye Chakra

This chakra is related to our intuition and inner guidance. When in balance we are connected to an inner guidance and see things with clarity, we can have vivid dreams. When the third eye chakra is out of balance one may have a problem making decisions, have no imagination and dull dreams and generally will not have a strong sense of intuition.

PHYSICAL DYSFUNCTIONS associated with this chakra being out of balance: Neurological disturbances and issues, blindness and deafness, full spinal difficulties, seizures.

LOCATION: between the eyebrows

COLOUR: Indigo

MANTRA: I see

YOGA poses which help activate this chakra: Forward bends

The Sahasrara / Crown Chakra

This chakra is related to our spiritual connectivity. A person with a balanced crown chakra should be open to new ideas, people and experiences and trusts the world believing in a higher power than humankind, this person would have faith and be able to see a bigger picture.  An out of balance crown chakra may make a person feel quite negative towards the external world and may have no beliefs in any higher being.

PHYSICAL DYSFUNCTIONS associated with this chakra being out of balance: energetic disorders & depression, chronic exhaustion not linked to anything physical, extreme sensitivity to light and sound and other environmental factors.

LOCATION: crown of the head

COLOUR: white/violet

MANTRA: I understand

YOGA poses which help activate this chakra: Headstand/inversions

Simply thinking of the chakras as specific places where we can put our attention in order to unwind any blocks in our bodies is a good starting point. Where our attention goes, our energy also flows. When we allow ourselves to become really quiet and actually tune into our bodies and what is happening within it is possible to feel the flow of energy and to become aware of where there is little to no energy flowing too.

 

Here is a simple chakra meditation for you to try:

If you ever feel one of your chakras is out of balance, a simple practice of meditation and awareness can help to bring the balance and energy back. Sit quietly and comfortably with length in your spine and close your eyes taking a few deep breaths to connect yourself. Once your thoughts being to settle down bring your awareness to the location of the chakra in question and perhaps focus on the colour or the mantra of that particular chakra for a few minutes. The quieter and more focused you become the more you may actually begin to feel the flow of energy in the body. Practicing this daily either first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening can really help to balance our chakras.  If you have an established yoga practice you can also focus on yoga poses mentioned above to help unblock and balance your chakras.

If this very short summary of the chakras has stirred something within you and you would like to find out more I highly recommend a book called “Anatomy of the Spirit” by Caroline Myss, PH.D. I have to credit this book for the majority of my understanding and knowledge of the chakras and therefore for this article!

 

[1] All the physical dysfunctions described of all chakras are taken from “Anatomy of the spirit” by Caroline Myss PH.D.

Pause // Play // Spring Energy Bullets

So we like to surprise our Pause // Play // Escapees with a little surprise treat or two during their stay. In the escape we ran at the end of April 2016 we thought a little post prandial boost might be welcome so we packed our escapees off for their afternoon adventures with these glorious energy packed 'bullets'.  An honorary mention goes to secret team member Maddy (Lisa's mum) for whipping up this batch for us and to Nourish Everyday for the original recipe which we tinkered with a tiny bit.

Spring Energy Bullets

Makes about 30 bullets

Ingredients

180gms soft dates (medjool are the business but other soft dates are fine to use too, if they feel a little hard, soak them in clean water for 30 minutes then dry on kitchen paper)

1 1/4 cups raw nuts (we used cashews as they go nice and creamy but a mix of other nuts would work, almonds, brazil, hazelnuts, go wild)

1/2 cup desiccated coconut (our current favourite ingredient (and extra for rolling your bullets in)

1/2 cup Maca Powder (or you could use other protein powders such as hemp protein powder, whey protein etc)

2 tbsp chia seeds 

1 organic lemon (ours came from a lovely farmer so it tasted extra nice) - zest and juice

2 tsp good vanilla extract

1/2 tsp good salt

Method

Stick the dates, nuts and coconut into a magimix/food processor. Whizz in short bursts until it all becomes mashed together in a sticky but not totally smooth mix.

NB - Weak food processors wont cope too well with nuts and dates so make sure its a strong one, otherwise chop chop chop and mash with your hands.

Then add in all other ingredients and mix together.

Roll between your hands until little bullets are formed. Then roll those in your extra coconut et voila. 

Put in fridge to keep them fresh and then share with your friends, family and loved ones. Take them to work and share with your colleagues. Use them as peace offerings for your enemies. Avoid eating them late at night unless you are planning a late night date with a dancefloor :)

 

Why rest is the new hustle and how to make sure you rest properly

Every once in a while, in the middle of work, family, lover, dinners, parties, picnics, studies and gym time your body might begin to feel a little run down, a sure sign that you need some good old rest!

If we can learn to listen to our bodies messages with respect and love, your body will tell you when you need rest. Our bodies are much smarter than we think we are! Feeling exhausted, un-inspired, run-down, fluey, achey, headachey are all signs from your body to tell you to REST. A lot of the time in our modern lifestyles we push through these messages from our body, leading us to become more fatigued and for the symptoms to spread deeper into our body perhaps causing even more harm. 

We need to change our attitude to rest, and realise that it is OK to rest when we need it! Listening to your body's messages with love and respect is one of the most important parts of yoga - never mind doing a headstand. There is no need to feel guilty about needing to rest when your body needs it.

It's vitally important to remember that when you are not at your best, nothing you do will be at your best. When you are not cared for, how can you care for someone else?

Not only is it important to take a day once in a while to rest (I promise you the world will not stop just because you are taking this rest) and I know any mothers out there are probably thinking "as if I could ever take a day of rest! but even take an hour, or half an hour or 5 minutes whatever you can, and whenever you can!  Not only is it important to rest, but it is also important to use this time of rest wisely.

"I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent, caring for myself is an act of survival" Audre Lorde

What is rest? A lot of the time you might think woohoo a day of rest, I'm going to stay in bed sleep all day and watch my favourite series in between sleep. Although this might be physically resting your body, it has been proven that modern technology (think ipads, phones, laptops - anything emitting an electromagnetic field (EMFs)) can cause the following side effects include headaches, dizziness, sleep disorders, benign tumours, dementia and Alzheimer's (this article has a lot more info on EMF's and the damage they cause us and how we can reduce this potential damage). So the sleep that you are getting in between watching the latest 'House of Cards' episode might not be the truly restful sleep that your body needs.

I really believe that mental stress and exhaustion also has a very physical effect on our bodies, and is much of the reason why we do feel so run down. So when we do rest, why do we neglect to rest our minds too? Remember that your body and mind are intrinsically connected. Watching a series or movie is hardly resting for our minds, and as mentioned above it means the sleep we do have may not be the healing sleep that we need. 

Here are a few tips to help you get some real, healing rest for both body and mind:

  • Do not feel guilty about taking some time to rest for you, the world will go on. Instead of associating this time with feelings of guilt, enjoy it, be positive and know that it will pass and you will be back to 100% in no time!
  • Rather than watching your favourite series/movie, try to disconnect from your phone, your laptop, your ipad etc etc. Take some time to get comfortable, close your eyes and focus just on your breathing: this breath coming in & this breath going out. Each time you notice yourself distracted in thought again thats ok, just let it go and come back to your breath. NOTE: you may very well fall asleep during the breathing which is totally fine :-) obviously sleep is what your body really needs today, and it should be a healing, restful sleep.
  • Once you feel a bit more connected to yourself with your breath, ask yourself: How do YOU really feel today? What does your body really need today? Is there something in particular that has made you feel like this that maybe you could think about changing? 
  • Have a warm bath with a few drops of lavender oil in and again, close your eyes and just breathe.
  • If you find you really cannot focus on just breathing for too long and you can't sleep but 'NEED' to do something else, first I'd suggest asking yourself WHY you need to do something else? And then if you still really need to do something I'd suggest reading your favourite book, but please please try to stay away from phones/ipads/laptops!

Your body works so hard for you all day every day; treat it like your temple, and give it some time to replenish. You wouldn’t leave your car to run without a service! You even let your computer sleep! Treat yourself with even that level of respect.

If you feel like you could do with more than just a day of rest, why not have a look at one of our Pause // Play // Escapes - we try to find that perfect balance between resting and having fun in a beautiful, nurturing environment with likeminded souls around. Combining daily yoga with the ultimate full body massage, reiki and sound healing sessions, nourishing foods, beautiful views and time for YOU!

Take care of yourself,

Lisa xx